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Old 12th November 2003, 04:22 AM   #1
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Default Tell me about gainclones

As far as I know, gainclones are just chip amps right? Why are they so popular compared to other chip amps or discrete component designs. Why would I want to build a gainclone more than any other design?
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Old 12th November 2003, 04:53 AM   #2
jam is offline jam  United States
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Good question? I have een asking myself the same................

Maybe we should ask Harry Potter.
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Old 12th November 2003, 05:13 AM   #3
cowanrg is offline cowanrg  United States
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for a few bucks you can try it out, and then figure out that its pretty much just a cheap and simple amp.
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Old 12th November 2003, 05:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: Tell me about gainclones

Quote:
Originally posted by Solid Snake
As far as I know, gainclones are just chip amps right? Why are they so popular compared to other chip amps or discrete component designs. Why would I want to build a gainclone more than any other design?
Because they are cheap and simple. What else can be better?
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Old 12th November 2003, 06:53 AM   #5
Shaun is offline Shaun  South Africa
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Default Heard my first Gainclone last night

This amp used the LM3886. It was as good as I had expected it could be. Compared to a Pass Labs amp (don't know the model - Aleph something) it seemed to have crisper highs. But it suffered in the headroom department. I guess this is the typical GainClone's main performance constraint. They make excellent medium-power amps.

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Old 12th November 2003, 12:15 PM   #6
DrG is offline DrG  South Africa
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Solid Snake:
Quote:
Why are they so popular compared to other chip amps or discrete component designs.
Because:
1. They are cheap. In fact a lot of guys get free samples from NS.
2. Some opportunist from 47 Laboratory shoved one in a sexy mini amp-case with tiny caps and gave it the catchy name "Gaincard". Then slapped on a telephone-number price. Now lazy audio diy'ers all over the world can build their own $2000 amp for "free".
3. They are a simple project for begginners. No PCB required. Just plug and play. Sound clean. This is the only "application" I personally think holds water, aside from surround-sound.
4. Other manufacturers have cottoned on to the profit potential. Linn and Jeff Rowland now use them. But I doubt purist amp builders will ever resort to such. But then, money talks...
Quote:
Why would I want to build a gainclone more than any other design?
If none of the reasons above are relevant to your circumstances, then the answer is "You wouldn't..."

Disclaimer: These are my personal opinions and are shared by numerous others but certainly not all forum members, particularly Peter Daniels and other apparent afficionados of aesthetics over engineering.
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Old 12th November 2003, 07:14 PM   #7
GregGC is offline GregGC  Canada
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Isn’t it a matter of what you really need. If all I need is 40W amp that sounds really good and if you subscribe to the view “Less is more” why would you go for something more complicated with a lot more components with specific requirements and ….. . What is wrong with using an IC that from a topology stand point is the same (in many cases much better) as some highly regarded DIY amps that claim that they sound good because of some specifics. Unless you wont to spend more time and money building the amp than listening to it. The feeling of accomplishment of getting something to work (and the more complicated it is the better you feel), that I understand. For some this amp is too simple to make them feel good.
Different story if you are talking about listening to music. It’s all relative. Some like it one way some like it the other. Some with more distortions (even order) some with less. Who is to say who is right and who is wrong. Obviously there are people that like the sound of that little amp. Otherwise I don’t think people (no matter how rich and stupid) would spend any money (heck I wouldn’t want it for free) if it didn’t sound to their liking. And I don’t own one (I’m building one though). And if you know what you are doing you can make it sound the way you want it too. But the concept (simplicity) makes so much sense. Build one properly, listen to it and then keep listening to it while you are building all your other ego-boosters-supper-amps.
Only MHO.
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Old 12th November 2003, 07:34 PM   #8
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That's interesting. I do agree with your idea on building something complex, that seems to do it for me. I've never built a chip amp before, only discrete component. It seems to me that chips would take all the fun out of it. I could see why it would be cool to build though.
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Old 12th November 2003, 07:46 PM   #9
GregGC is offline GregGC  Canada
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I like listening to music more than building the equipment.
Also after some playing around with my Yamaha amp, I discovered that it sounds 100 times better if I get rid of the preamp section.
http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showt...246#post254246
I'm convinced for myself, the less components on the way of the signal, the better.
I'll repete myself: To ME (we are all different) the sound is more important than playing around with the guts of the equipment (that's what I do for a living).
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Old 12th November 2003, 09:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Solid Snake
It seems to me that chips would take all the fun out of it. I could see why it would be cool to build though.
I'm not into circuit design myself and I prefer to implement other ppls circuits.

So the chip amp offers me much more fun than discreet amps. I don't have to worry about PCBs or wiring the circuit myself because everything is provided in a compact, 1 square inch package. All my efforts can be directed into building a better chassis and using much better auxilary parts, as the whole amp is much smaller and requires less of those parts, so I can actually use the best without worrying about my expenses. Playing with small parts is fun too, as it's easier, simpler and possibilities are practically unlimited. I can also check different chassis styles, as it's very easy and quick to built one.

I have components for at least 10 class A amps, but I really doubt if I ever go this way again. First of all, it takes much more time to put this kind of amp together. It may be fun in the beginning, but later it makes you tired and you can't wait to see the finished amp, but there is so much to do before it's finished. I actually know one forum member who was working on his Aleph 2 for more than a year before the amp was done. Me, OTOH, can built pretty well implemented chip amp in 2 or 3 days. Isn't it fun?

I would rather prefer to built 3 chip amps per channel to drive ea. driver separately, than a single, big amp to drive all of them together. The price and time spend to built 3 chip amps would be less than to built one regular amp.

I also compared my Zen, Alephs, Aleph X and few other amps, and honestly I can't say that those amps are better than a chip amp. So, if it's cheap, it's simple and possibly may sound very good, what more reasons do you need to build one?

Discussing virtues of chip amps could be compared to talking about advantages of non-oversampling in DACs. Some people have preconceived views and will never accept the idea that non-oversampling can sound good and may possibly be better than oversampling. Well, I tried both, and currently use the simpler solution, while my oversampling DAC is put on sale.

Disclaimer: Not all chip amps are equal. If you want to built a really good one, you have to go beyond just the fun phase.
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